European Centre for Modern Languages

Examples of practice

Across Europe, new ways are emerging to support work-related language learning by migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities, in response to developments in technology, work organisation, and research into second language acquisition.

Examples of practice

The practice accounts presented here show some of the many ways it is possible to support L2 learning for work, at work and through work.
Each account aims to uncover as clearly as possible what the practice it describes really consists of, and how it aims to support work-related L2 learning. 
These accounts are offered not as blueprints to be copied, but inspiration for anyone trying to develop an effective local solution.

Analysing practice 

When analysing practice, it can be helpful to think in terms of constellations of actors, working together in settings.


1. Triangle

Key features

  • Key actors (who): learners, teachers and language providers. The learners are mostly job seekers, some are employed.
  • Type of support (what and where): mainly through formal classroom learning. Support aims at developing work-related language skills of individuals, to help those individual access/progress at work. 

2. Square

Key features

  • Key actors (who):  learnersteacherslanguage providers and job centres. The learners are mainly job seekers, some are employed.
  • Type of support (what and where): mainly through formal classroom learning, but can include work-placement, in which case formal learning is enhanced with non-formal and informal learning opportunities. Support is mostly initiated by the local authorities and aims at integrating the learners into the labour market.  

3. Pentagon

Key features

  • Key actors (who): learnersteacherslanguage providers/initial and further vocational training (VET), job centres, community/volunteers. The learners are job seekers or VET trainees. 
  • Type of support (what and where): mainly through formal classroom learning with work-placements, thus integrating formal with non-formal and informal learning. The overall aim of the support is mostly social integration. 

4. Hexagon

Key features

  • Key actors (who): learnersteacherslanguage providers, colleagues/mentors, employers, trade unions/workers’ representatives. The learners are employed.
  • Type of support (what and where): range of different learning arrangements, including formal, non-formal and informal learning; non-formal and informal learning build on the structural learning opportunities that work organisation offers, such as team work, safety and hygiene instruction, etc. In additional to the language skills of individuals, support aims to improve work processes and to enhance vocational competences.

More about the settings

Theory and practice

As with all models, these constellations and settings are analytical constructs, and generalisations. Real practices are often more complex. Nonetheless, these models can be used as basic Landkarten, maps that reveal the salient features of a practice.

As further practices emerge, they can be documented and added to this collection – and the conceptual framework developed.